What is processed food? Is it really so bad?

What is processed food? Is it really so bad?

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We hear the phrase “processed food” thrown about all the time when it comes to diets, weight loss and in general – food.

But, what we don’t hear about so much, is what is processed food? 

Sure, maybe you think of “junk food”, or fast food chains, ice cream, candy etc, and you’re right, they sure are processed foods!

Hold on though before you think you’ve got a full understanding of what processed foods are! Because it goes far beyond that, and this is where it gets interesting.

I’m going to answer “what is processed food?” and “is it really so bad?”.

What is processed food?

Whenever you take some form of whole food or ingredient, and change it in some way, it is classed as processed food.

Sounds simple right?

It is when you put it that way, and you’ll probably be thinking… so not all processed food is bad?

You’re absolutely right, not all processed food is bad. But it gets a little more complicated than that.

Processed can be freezing, canning, baking, fermenting, drying, cooking, pickling etc. 

Foods such as tinned beans, tinned tuna, frozen fruit, kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt are all considered processed foods. 

The raw, whole ingredients has been taken and altered from its natural form in some way through some sort of process.

Even supplement powders are considered processed because whole ingredients have been altered and added together to create a product. 

You don’t see a container of acai berry supplements growing from an acai palm do you? 🙂

Acai berry benefits

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    This is where it gets tricky

    So often you’ll hear people saying to cut processed food out of your diet to lose weight. True! Cutting out processed food and eating more whole food definitely can help you lose weight.

    BUT…. it is important to know what processed food they are referring to when they say this.

    And here I will explain exactly what they mean.

    Now I can only speak for myself here, but i’m pretty confident I am right in saying the following.

    When nutritionists, trainers, athletes, myself or any one else refers to cutting out processed food or that processed foods are bad for you, they generally don’t mean fermented, canned, frozen fruit and veggies or even protein powders and certain supplements.

    When I refer to processed food, I mean the packaged food with a whole lot of added sugar, salt, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, MSG, refind flour, trans fats, sucrose, corn syrup etc.

    The following foods are a perfect example of processed foods that will do your body and health no favors what so ever:

    • Packaged microwave dinners
    • Chocolate
    • Candy
    • Most breakfast cereals
    • Snack bars and packets (fruit rolls, nut bars, cereal bars, flavored corn thins and rice crackers etc)
    • Chips
    • Fries
    • Most bread (I recommend whole grain bread that has had the least amount of processing and additives possible)
    • biscuits, cookies, scones, donuts, cake
    • Fried food
    • Most plant based burger patties or any “vegan/vegetarian’ version of meat

    I think you get where i’m going.

    Another huge thing to watch out for, and can deceive many people is dressings and sauces. 

    Now not all dressings and sauces are considered bad, but be sure to check the type of ingredients on the label. They can be extremely high in sugar, salt, fat, oil among many other additives and preservatives.

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      So is processed food really so bad?

      As you can see, the definition of processed food is pretty simple. 

      So no, not all processed foods are bad. 

      In fact, some processed food can almost still be considered whole food when you take into account frozen fruit, veggies, meat etc.

      But when you start adding multiple ingredients, preservatives, colors, flavors and any thing else I previously mentioned when ti comes to the bad processed foods, that’s exactly what it is…bad!

      You’re body does not need it, ever. I’m not saying don’t eat it ever, i’m just saying you don’t and wont need it, ever.

      Try and keep your diet to as much whole foods as possible.

      My 21-Day Weight Loss Plan & Wellness Guide teaches you exactly how to change your diet and lifestyle and train your body to not only like, but crave whole foods.

      You will get a full recipe book written by myself containing super easy to prepare whole food recipes, a full 21-Day weight loss plan that is designed to suit you and the foods you like.

      To take a closer look at exactly what I offer in this plan or to get started, you can check it out here.

      I hope this gave you a much better understanding of what processed foods are and what ones you should include in your diet 😉

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